Domaine Matassa: a unique symbiosis of man and nature in the Mediterranean south of France
New Zealand-born Tom Lubbe learned his trade in South Africa and had an early interest in growing grapes close to nature. However, as his interest in Mediterranean viticulture grew stronger, he landed at Gerard Gauby in Languedoc-Roussillon.
After a few years as cellar master at Gauby, Tom knew the area and the potential of the terroir quite well. Then, in 2003, he acquired a spectacular parcel of a wild, uncut vineyard of ancient Carignan vines called Matassa; it was the birth of the winery he founded with his wife Nathalie and friend Sam Harrop. The first vintage was still produced in the newly married couple's living room and when Gerard heard about it, he felt so bad that he gave Tom his old cellar in 2004! After acquiring more Carignan plots in the mountain village of Le Vivier, they were then able to increase production considerably.
The Domaine Matassa, which now covers around 15 hectares, is farmed purely biodynamically and yields from the old vines are extremely low, averaging downright at 12- 18hl/ha. Compared to conventional farming, this is an astonishing 50-100hl/ha less, which has a huge impact on the quality and concentration of the grapes.